State Rep. Jerry Kooiman, R-Grand Rapids, is proving his leadership as Speaker Pro Tempore and as a member of the State Appropriations Committee. While Gov. Jennifer Granholm over and over talks about the state budget crisis, she is walking away from real solutions and overdue reforms. Kooiman is offering common sense solutions, and to ignore them is just plain stupid.
The governor is modeling a plan from Grand Rapids City Manager Kurt Kimball, based on the book, “The Price of Government.” After taking a survey of residents, the programs and services the majority believes are important will be given budget priority; those at the bottom of the list will be cut. But much more of the governor’s “business plan” is a tax shift or tax increase.
None of those actions address the fundamental changes long needed and now obviously necessary. Kooiman and his fellows, State Reps. Dave Hildebrand and Glenn Steil Jr., have requested simple program outcomes as a way to deliver the taxpayers’ money — or not — to the myriad of state appropriations. Kooiman, a member of the subcommittees on community colleges and higher education and career preparation, requested the success rate of the prison inmates who have earned their GEDs. Through that process he learned that
Kooiman has asked colleges and universities for outcomes: Those that fail to graduate a student in the prescribed amount of time receive less. He also explained that
The legislator wants to see that outcome-based budgeting in regard to revenue sharing: funding would be tied to metropolitan cooperation, to consolidation of services like water and sewer, planning and purchasing.
Beyond the savings to taxpayers, Kooiman’s plan also assures greater strength of state institutions and programs. Kooiman’s “outcome-based” funding is pure common sense. Unfortunately, state elected officials rarely exhibit such. It is time for a change.